Program to give homeless & poor people may soon be getting free cell phones & service

Lifeline program proposes to give free cell phones

Bakersfield, Calif. - Homeless and low-income people in California may soon be getting free cell phones and service thanks to a federally funded program.

The cell phones would be handed out through the Lifeline program.

The California Public Utilities Commission has been reviewing the Lifeline proposal from Assurance Wireless for three years and is expected approve it in the coming weeks.

The goal of the program is to keep the poor and homeless in touch with family, potential employers and others crucial to improving their lives.

"Telephone communications are a necessity in this day and age especially with the unemployment rate so high, people need a way to reach out to potential employers and get a call back from potential employers," said Assurance Wireless spokesman Jack Pflanz.

In other states, the program is paid for by contributions from cell phone carriers, like Sprint or AT&T.

They can recoup those costs by charging subscribers a surcharge fee.

It's unknown if that will the case in California.   

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